The offshore accounts of many global political leaders and business elites were revealed on Sunday with the release of a trove of 13.4 million leaked documents dubbed the Paradise Papers.
Published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the same group that unveiled a similar trove referred to as the Panama Papers in 2016, the leaks have revealed financial details of high-profile figures such as the Queen of England, U.S. President Donald Trump's Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's senior advisor Stephen Bronfman.
Several prominent Arab figures also had their offshore accounts revealed in the latest dump, as was the case with the Panama Papers last year.
However, while critics of political and business elites are quick to suggest the files amount to wrongdoing, even the ICIJ reminds us that there are "legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts."
"We do not intend to suggest or imply that any people, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly," the ICIJ says in a statement on its website.
Here's a look at the most prominent Arabs whose offshore dealings were revealed.
1. Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz (Saudi Arabia)
Saudi Arabia's former Deputy Minister of Defense Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz had offshore dealings revealed via the leaked documents.
"In the 1990s and early 2000s, Appleby’s files list Prince Khaled as the beneficiary of the Acorn Trust and the Minstrel Trust. Between 1989 and 2014 Prince Khaled registered at least eight companies in Bermuda, some of which were used to own yachts and aircraft.
Bermuda-based Actaeon Shipping Ltd. owned and operated a 'large pleasure yacht' while Euroyacht Ltd. had assets worth $51 million in 1992 and earned income from chartering the yacht Golden Odyssey.Euroyacht Ltd. once owned a Venetian Water Taxi named Serenella," ICIJ writes.
The Prince has not responded to requests for comment by ICIJ.
2. Rami Makhlouf (Syria)
Believed to be "Syria's wealthiest man," Rami Makhlouf is also the cousin of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
"Makhlouf was a shareholder in four Lebanese companies created between 2001 and 2003, before Syrian troops officially withdrew from Lebanon in 2005 after 29 years of military occupation. Three of the companies are described as investment holding companies, while Middle East Law Firm S.A.L. lists its activities as negotiating and signing contracts outside Lebanon. Records identify Makhlouf as co-founder of three of the four companies," ICIJ writes.
Makhlouf also did not comment to ICIJ on the findings.
3. Queen Noor Al-Hussein (Jordan)
Queen Noor is the widow of former Jordanian King Hussein and also the stepmother of Jordan's current king.
"Queen Noor – sometimes referred to as 'Mrs. Jordan' or 'Mrs. Brown' in Appleby’s database – is the beneficiary of two trusts registered in Jersey, according to a document dated October 2015. Leaked files show that one, the Valentine 1997 Trust, was valued at more than $40 million in 2015, and its income is to be paid to the queen during her lifetime. The trust also owns property in southern England adjacent to Buckhurst Park, where Queen Noor resides and where she is responsible for keeping the premises 'clean and tidy' and for 'interior decoration.'
To reduce inheritance taxes on the queen’s estate upon her death, the trustees in 2013 considered borrowing money and using Buckhurst Park as a security. This arrangement would lower the property’s market value and decrease inheritance taxes, according to internal notes. It is not clear whether the idea was implemented.
According to Appleby documents, the other trust, the Brown Discretionary Settlement, is the beneficial owner of a Jersey-incorporated investment holding company with assets worth about $18.7 millIon in 2015," ICIJ writes.
A spokesperson representing Queen Noor told ICIJ that "all the bequests made to her and to her children by [the late King Hussein] have always been administered according to the highest ethical, legal and regulatory standards."